Warrington is being placed into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, the local council has confirmed.
The town’s population of 210,000 people will join other local areas under the strictest conditions of lockdown for “very high” risk Tier 3 areas from Thursday next week.
The town in north Cheshire is between Liverpool and Manchester and popular with commuters to both cities, which are both themselves under Tier 3 restrictions.
Warrington Borough Council said it has secured £5.9 million in coronavirus support from the Government as part of its move from a “high risk” Tier 2 area to a Tier 3 area.
The local authority said the necessary orders and regulations will now be worked on by the Government, with a view to the restrictions coming into play from 00.01 on Thursday October 29 – though the exact date is to be confirmed.
The leader of the council, councillor Russ Bowden, said: “Across Warrington, we have seen our case numbers remain stubbornly high, with more people being admitted to hospital and, upsettingly, more people being taken by the virus.
“As we approach winter, we need to take urgent action to drive down the number of coronavirus cases in our town.
“After negotiations with the Government, we have agreed a package of measures and funding for Warrington that means our businesses and residents will get extra support.
“This agreement has been the result of positive discussions with Government, and whilst we would have ideally liked a little more funding support, ultimately I think we have secured a very good package that will support our businesses and communities as we continue to do all we can to bring case numbers down.
“This has been a difficult decision but we need to prioritise the health of our most vulnerable and elderly people, and we also need to protect hospital capacity as far as possible.
“We will not stop speaking up for those who are most vulnerable or at risk during the pandemic. In the meantime, you can all play your part to stop the spread of the virus by sticking to the restrictions, and continuing to follow the basics like washing your hands, keeping your distance and wearing a face covering where necessary.
“Together, I know we can bring the case numbers down and help get Warrington out of these enhanced restrictions as quickly as possible.”
Around £1.68 million of this funding package will be allocated to supporting the council’s public health response – including for public protection, testing and enforcement services – with £4.2 million to be used for business and employment support, the council said.
The council has managed to agree a range of exemptions to the restrictions which includes leisure centres, gyms, fitness centres, beauticians, hairdressers and trampoline centres remaining open, subject to them being Covid-secure.
In line with other areas in the North West however, betting offices, soft play centres and casinos are to close.